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Soft power meets hard fact - The failings of a soft power approach to Russia
The New Criterion ^ | April 2014 | Masthead Editorial

Posted on 04/06/2014 5:25:31 PM PDT by neverdem

In February, noting events in Ukraine, we wrote in this space that history seemed to be stirring once again (if it had ever really slept). In Ukraine, at least, the observation “It’s about Russia” is not only accurate but thorough. When The New Criterion began publication, in September 1982, the Soviet colossus still cast its dismal, blighting shadow over Eastern Europe and the countries girdling the Black and Caspian Seas. The sudden disintegration of what Ronald Reagan aptly called “the evil empire” caught most pundits, and most Western politicians, entirely off guard. That eventuality was not part of the script they had been given. And yet it happened. And then a new script was substituted. Now, the power politics of yesteryear were outmoded. A new era of mutual interest, diplomacy, and “soft power” was the order of the day. What Secretary of State John Kerry derided as Russia’s “nineteenth-century” behavior in Ukraine—imagine, one country invading another and annexing part of it!—was so uncouth, so outmoded, so beyond what was supposed to happen in the early twenty-first century, that his first response was contemptuous incredulity. Perhaps partly because he lived in the nineteenth century, the essayist William Hazlitt would not have been surprised by Russia’s behavior. “Those who lack delicacy,” he observed, “hold us in their power.” So far, the West’s attitude towards Russia’s criminal adventures in Ukraine might be best described as impotent outrage. Russia’s attitude, on the contrary, has been one of swaggering belligerence, tinctured with minatory, narrowed-eyed amusement. The commentator Austin Bay, writing for StrategyPage.com, got it exactly right: the “referendum” handing over the Crimean peninsula to Russia was

a cover story concocted ex post facto. Russian rifles cast the votes that mattered. When he announced the annexation, Russian president Vladimir Putin touted Crimea’s three centuries of Russian control. Whatever the cover story or sphere of influence explanation, this is territorial expansion.

The legacy of aggression, annexation and expansion by a major European power is mass slaughter across the Continent and, in the twentieth century, global war.

No one knows, at this juncture, how events in Ukraine will play out. But partisans of “soft power” are in for yet another jolt. It turns out that, pace Secretary Kerry, the nineteenth century is alive and well. The Roman historian Vegetius was right: Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; Russia
KEYWORDS: kerry; russia; ukraine; viktoryanukovich; yuliatymoshenko

Sergei Grits | AP Photo
1 posted on 04/06/2014 5:25:32 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
"Soft Power" was a euro term iirc. Hillary ran on the idea of "smart power," an equally misguided fiction.
2 posted on 04/06/2014 5:29:07 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: hinckley buzzard

...and if we can get the Russians to agree to only use solar or wind power to supply the needs of their armed forces, then we might win in the long run through “green power”.


3 posted on 04/06/2014 5:57:57 PM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: hinckley buzzard

Has it ever worked?


4 posted on 04/06/2014 5:58:53 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: neverdem

The velvet glove is worthless unless it covers an iron fist.


5 posted on 04/06/2014 6:02:08 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: neverdem
Pat Buchanan believes (as I do) that God is on Putin's side:
http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/04/04/pat-buchanan-god-is-on-putins-side-while-the-we/198745

Background:
http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3134772/posts

US Govt Russophobia:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPv106Oie8Y

The false flag sniper op at Maidan:
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/03/everyone-agrees-ukraine-sniper-attacks-false-flag-argue-culprit.html

Putin's Perspective
http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130725/182424969/Christianity-Made-Russia-Great-World-Power—Putin.html

Arrest warrant for George Soros:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpO3PArAoUQ

Faith:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3d_yxJhmjk

200 New Christian churches being built in an daround Moscow:
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Foundations-laid-for-first-of-200-new-Orthodox-churches-in-Moscow-21434.html

The Cathedral of Christ The Savior:
http://www.123rf.com/photo_7308397_the-restored-cathedral-of-christ-the-savior-in-moscow-at-night.html

calls for world leaders to stop the slaughter/persecution of Christians :
http://answersforthefaith.com/2013/08/08/putin-world-leaders-should-unite-to-end-christian-persecution/

The United States is still demographically a Christian nation but you'd never know it from observing our government. All you ever read about our government doing these days is supporting regimes which persecute Christians and Christianity, and then you ask whose side you think God might be on? You think God could ever be on the side of George Soros, Monsanto, and the Obunga state department?? For that matter do you think God would be on the side of "conservatives" who weren't bright enough to see through demoKKKrat/NWO/Soros/US_StateDept propaganda and BS??

6 posted on 04/06/2014 6:02:42 PM PDT by varmintman
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To: varmintman

A lot of people think God is on their side. That’s foolishness.

We should try to be on Gods side.


7 posted on 04/06/2014 6:05:01 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Want to keep your doctor? Remove your Democrat Senator.)
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To: Balding_Eagle

Sorry, but I don’t see that as foolishness at all, i.e. I’m willing to believe my own eyes. That is in fact what the evidence suggests.


8 posted on 04/06/2014 6:08:36 PM PDT by varmintman
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To: varmintman

You have evidence that God has chosen Putin’s side?

I want to hear this.


9 posted on 04/06/2014 6:17:11 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Want to keep your doctor? Remove your Democrat Senator.)
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To: Balding_Eagle

I’m assuming that to be the case from what I see and read. For instance, God being on their side might have something to do with their not having a “community organizer(TM)” in charge of the Kremlin...


10 posted on 04/06/2014 6:24:55 PM PDT by varmintman
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To: varmintman

The article headline isn’t supported by the contents of the article. “In the new war of beliefs, Putin is saying, it is Russia that is on God’s side. The West is Gomorrah.”

It’s my belief that even Putin isn’t so conceited, and foolish, as to say that God chose to be on his side.

Who would want to live so defiantly and dangerously?


11 posted on 04/06/2014 6:31:56 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Want to keep your doctor? Remove your Democrat Senator.)
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To: neverdem

I don’t believe that God is on America’s side (not any more), nor that God is on Russia’s side, and those are not the important questions. What matters is whether we are on God’s side. At the moment, I’m not happy with the side our country has chosen in the battle between good and evil.


12 posted on 04/06/2014 6:32:54 PM PDT by Pollster1 ("Shall not be infringed" is unambiguous.)
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To: neverdem

“soft power?” oh, you mean weakness.


13 posted on 04/06/2014 6:49:07 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Operating out of weakness? Imagine if he was working from a position of strength!)
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To: varmintman; Balding_Eagle

That is in fact what the evidence suggests.

*****

It is early days and time will tell. I do think the west is a rotted, putrid husk that will be judged hard in the near future. How much better the east is... we shall see.

Putin does not strike me as a God fearing man. He is, however, a sane and canny one in a world let by debauched and magical thinking fools.

Its all Psalm 2 in the end. Watch how the nations respond.


14 posted on 04/06/2014 9:23:52 PM PDT by Psalm 144 (FIGHT! FIGHT! SEVERE CONSERVATIVE AND THE WILD RIGHT!)
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To: Balding_Eagle; varmintman
The article headline isn’t supported by the contents of the article.

“In the new war of beliefs, Putin is saying, it is Russia that is on God’s side. The West is Gomorrah.”

That quote is not in the article! The title and the last paragraph certainly agree. Soft power has serious limitations.

15 posted on 04/06/2014 10:08:14 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: Balding_Eagle
Putin and Mother Russia are Godless.

God is NOT with Putin and Putin does not believe in God.

Putin believes in Putin and the great USSR revived - that is all. Russia and her leaders rev up their tank engines while the West sips Latte in fashionable cafes.

Putin creates facts, takes initiative and places boots on the ground while the West makes threats never to be carried out.

Putin knows he is dealing with America's worst Jello-President which makes it all the more easy to dupe the West.

After all, it is a West that neither seeks conflict not argument but a smooth, seamless affluent lifestyle. It is a “leave us alone, we're busy sipping Latte” strategy. Do what you want in the East just don't halt the flow of natural gas or oil...

16 posted on 04/06/2014 10:20:40 PM PDT by Netz
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To: neverdem

“Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach.”

—JOSEPH STALIN


17 posted on 04/07/2014 12:19:03 AM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.)
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To: Netz
Putin and Mother Russia are Godless.


18 posted on 04/07/2014 5:59:01 AM PDT by varmintman
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To: All

NOBODY goes to that much trouble to fake not being godless...


19 posted on 04/07/2014 6:00:01 AM PDT by varmintman
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To: varmintman

“Having a form of religion but denying the power thereof.”

The new set of Orthodox in Russia are still fairly young. They would not have been practicing their faith publicly during the USSR era. I fear it’s been taken as more of a cool religion than a means of getting one’s heart right with the Lord.

Utterly godless no (any more than the US is utterly godless). But in big spiritual trouble, yes.


20 posted on 04/07/2014 6:06:35 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: neverdem
"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading."
21 posted on 04/07/2014 6:34:11 AM PDT by GOPJ (.'Dog Shit' could be sold to 7 million citizens if the IRS fined those who refused to buy it...)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
I fear it’s been taken as more of a cool religion than a means of getting one’s heart right with the Lord.

If they are going to church because it's "cool", good at least they are going. Because if they keep going the message of Jesus Christ will start to "stick."

22 posted on 04/07/2014 7:44:23 AM PDT by painter ( Isaiah: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,")
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To: neverdem
That quote is not in the article!

It is about the tenth paragraph, which consists of one sentence.

23 posted on 04/07/2014 8:25:44 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Want to keep your doctor? Remove your Democrat Senator.)
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